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The "Skid" Continues
Canucks 3 - Flames 1

Darren Linn
February 3rd, 2006

It's a long season when you have 82 games to play in just over 6 months. During that time it is inevitable that you will hit both lows and highs, streaks that are good and some that are bad.

The Calgary Flames find themselves mired in one of the bad parts of their 6 month sojourn, and when you add in 4 other teams in their difficult NW division all being on a roll that has netted points of late, you end up with a standings situation that has gone from great to good to uh oh.

The Flames are about 2 things and 2 things only. Out work the opposition and rely on stellar defense to carry them through. For the most part, that recipe has garnered a huge return. Lately however, it has not. Though they have played hard and kept their nose to the proverbial grindstone, the Flames have been outworked by some, out defensed by others, and the net result has been 1 win in their last 6 attempts.

On The Line

It's the NW division. As with every night that teams in this group play one another, it is a 4 point game that would allow either team take the lead over the rest with a win. The joggling that occurs within the conference is secondary to what occurs to the group of 4.

The Flow

The Flames came out like a team that had just made some personnel changes....then they stopped doing what they do best. Though the captain of the club staked the team to a 1-0 lead late in the 1st frame (while on a 5 on 3) and was looking like the man every Flame fan wants him to be, the rest of the club looked somewhat disinterested. The opposition however, looked like they were not a whole lot ready to engage in what needed to be done either. With a couple scraps to open the first 20 minutes, fans watching this game had to expect more than was delivered. Shots were scarce, goals were tough to come by, and the flow was "herky-jerky".

Three Stars

1 Ryan Kesler.  Who? Yep, the 21 year old former Ohio State Buckeye was a thorn in the side of the Flames all night. After fighting Calgary's captain in the 1 st period, the young man came back and kept at it until he notched the game winner late in the 2nd period. It was a deflater for the Flames and propelled the Nucks towards their second victory of the year over the good guys.

2 Sedin.  I'm not even sure which one is which, but they are both playing some disciplined and effective hockey. Sidled up with Anson Carter, they have become a much better line than the over rated and much vaunted Bertuzzi and other guys line. The puck movement that the twins and line mate create is second to none on the team they were facing. Good lesson for the Lombardi/Kobasew types on the Flames.  

3 Jarome Iginla.  The hardest working player on the Flames in this one, and for the second game in a row, supplied the only offense the team could muster. With 6 shots on net and being a physical presence for most of the night, El Captain needs some help on the big line....he didn't get it this evening. 

Big Hit

This may the hardest decision I have had to make all year. Truth is, though the hitting was there for both clubs, neither one generated that one "how many fingers" body shaker that a nuck/Flame tilt usually produces.

Big Save

In the 3rd period with the Flames trailing by one measly goal, the newest Flame Mike Leclerc, was able to find himself eye to eye with Alexander Auld. Coming off the wing, Leclerc let a snapshot rip that would have tied the game except for the Canucks goaltenders quick reflexes. That one goes in, we are talking about a different game.

The Goat

Passengers. All of them. No shortage of them either. Where was Kristian Huselius?  Where was Shean "drive by" Donovan? Where was Chuck "trade bait" Kobasew? Weimer, McCarty, Amonte, and just about everybody else. Point shots and peripheral/board shots are not acceptable for a grinding club.

Mr. Clutch

Sedin. The one that wasn't named a star.  

Odds and Ends

OK folks, it's official. The Flames are in a somewhat prolonged slump. Most intelligent fans always assume every club is going to have 1 or 2 or more of these stretches through the year. That makes it no easier when it starts to happen to the club you cheer for. That being said, the Flames were "out Flamed" in this one, by being outworked, out hustled, and (gulp) out goal tended...... 3 games left to the Olympic break, and this club needs at least 2 wins. I wont bet against them doing it, but I sure wont bet on them accomplishing it either. They are a tired (mentally) team. That's hard to get back to the positive side......Even Kiprusoff, whom I have taken to task about his SO play, looked very ordinary on a couple goals tonight. Is the hip/workload getting to him?.....The Flames got smoked in the faceoff circle once again. 45% doesn't cut it.............Much maligned defenceman Andrew Ference led the club in icetime by a mile. 5 more minutes than Robyn Regehr means one of two things. Either he was the best of the bunch on the night, or he really was being showcased for one of the several scouts in attendance........Jason Weimer, though a nice depth guy to have when in a playoff run, simply has no place on the Flames any longer.....Speaking of big slow skaters who can bang and crash, Chris Simon was a healthy scratch. The acquisition of Mike Leclerc makes one of Weimer/Simon expendable. My bet is on the latter......

Next up A desperate and tough San Jose team on Monday night in Northern California.

Lines -

Leclerc- Lombardi- Iginla
Huselius - Langkow - Amonte
McCarty- Yelle- Donovan
Nilson - Wiemer - Kobasew

Regher 2.0-Phaneuf







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